LIMA — Snakes often get a bad rap. Maybe it goes all the way back to the biblical tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Raising snakes is a hobby that’s not for everyone, especially those who are a bit squeamish.
At the Lima Howard Johnson’s on Sunday, one of their conference rooms was filled with snakes and lizards and other exotic pets for the BRM Exotic Expo.
The BRM Exotic Expo is run by Angel Johnson and Richard Stevenson, who own a pet store in North Baltimore.
They have an expo in Fremont every month and decided to come to Lima to see how things go.
“I’ve been working with reptiles for over 20 years and then took it as a business about seven years ago and then starting doing the expos about four years ago,” Johnson said.
Stevenson says part of what they do is educate the public.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions about reptiles due to animal rights activists, and that always gives them a bad name. Reptiles have two things on their mind — they want to eat and drink and reproduce. That’s all they want to do. They’re quiet, they don’t bark. They don’t put fur all over the place. It’s easy to feed them and easy to care for,” Stevenson said.
Larry Fortune, who owns Creek Water Reptiles and Rodents out of Wakeman, had a table set up at the expo.
“My stepdaughter bought a female snake, and I figured if I was going to have a female, I might as well breed her, and it just dominoed from there. I started getting a few ball pythons and then started having to feed them, and everything’s just expanded since then,” Fortune said.
His booth attracted quite the crowd when he brought out his 9-foot-long Platinum Motley Tiger Reticulated Python.
“It’s definitely a talking piece,” Fortune said.
Samantha Vermule, from Fort Jennings, also set up a table to sell some of her pythons.
“I grew up around exotics. I grew up on a farm with deer and helping out friends that had snakes — specifically ball pythons and Burmese pythons, and they had a traveling petting zoo. As I got older, I decided I wanted a snake and got a normal ball python, and then as I learned more about the genes, I got more into figure out what I could make out of different genes,” Vermule said.
Her collection has grown to around 20 or so with different variations and colorings.
The next BRM Exotics Expo show is on Aug. 15 at the Howard Johnson in Lima. Another one is scheduled for Sept. 5.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.